Finding the right people to work with you in your modern day digital marketing agency is essential if you want to deliver the best quality service to clients, but that search can be an arduous one with many pitfalls. Gone are the days when you could sift through one-page CVs and choose those who impress you by talking the talk in an interview. Now, your potential hires need to be able to demonstrate that they can also walk the walk, and any candidate worth their salt should have that information at hand and freely available to view. You just need to know what to look out for, and where to look.
Below, we will discuss some of the best ways to find the candidate that will not only fit into your modern agency model, but will be able to deliver, and improve upon, the services you bring to clients, whether that is project management, the redesign of a business website, content creation, or all of the above with an integrated inbound marketing strategy.
The first thing you need to do, however, is to be very clear about the culture of your inbound agency, because it is only through knowing who you are, what you do and what values you represent that you can be sure to find the person who will fit into that culture and help you build on your success, whether they are a project manager or a content creator.
The next step is to let that culture be known via a specialised page on your agency website, highlighting the fact that you are looking to hire, so those looking for the right position can find you, read about what you do and how you go about it, and assess whether they are the right fit. Remember, you want the right people to come to you, and clearly outlining your values will help them make that decision.
You also need to determine what it is a new hire needs to be able to achieve for your agency, and this should include not just the behavioural traits that will fit in with your company culture, but also the specific skills they should have in order to be successful in the role.
You need to outline the following:
- What will the new hire’s tasks and duties be?
- What skill sets do they need in order to do this?
- What goals, targets and challenges will they face, and what qualities will they need to have to achieve or overcome them?
- What skill sets will fit in best with the skill sets already in place?
- Is the role general or does it require very specific and specialised skills?
It is of course very important to know what you should be looking for in a candidate, apart from eagerness, and inbound.org is useful as a reference point where you can see what other agencies and organisations list as the key criteria needed for roles with them.
As a (far from comprehensive) guide, an inbound marketer, for example, should have most of the following:
- The ability to write engaging content for blogs, newsletters, content offers, social media posts
- A strong social media presence and ability to engage with online communities
- An understanding of personas and segmentation
- An understanding of analytics
- An ability to create and implement campaigns, workflows and lead nurturing emails
- Strong understanding of and ability to use the company’s inbound marketing platform
- A strong understanding of SEO
- Good internal communication skills and an ability to work as part of a team
- Good organisational skills
- The ability to juggle all of these responsibilities effectively
In the hiring section of your website, write a job description that includes an overview of the role, details responsibilities and outlines educational requirements and experience required. Use content creation best practices to make it compelling, but make sure it clearly outlines the responsibilities of the role, as according to careerbuildercommunications, 85% of candidates say clearly defined job duties influenced their decision to apply for a role. Being vague will help nobody.
Many companies and agencies prefer to have candidates fill in a form on their website rather than send in CVs, and there are advantages to this because as well as being able to assess the CVs uploaded, you can ask for specific information the candidate may not have thought to include that can give better insights into their suitability.
Your form should include all of the questions you want candidates to fill in, including:
- First and last name
- Contact details – email address, phone number
- Their CV
- A brief explanation on why they want this role and why they think they will be a good fit
Whether you need to, or should, ask for social media handles or accounts is up for debate, but it is becoming increasingly common for companies to do so nowadays. It may seem intrusive up-front, but the reasons why companies do it is obvious – a quick look at a Twitter handle or LinkedIn account will show whether the candidate is suited to your business and how keyed in they are to the industry.
HubSpot has a useful guide to the machinations of the entire hiring process if done through their platform here, and following this process can help you gain insights into the candidate too by allowing you to see their activity once they have been entered into your database, from whether they opened an automated email reply to what pages on your website they visited.
If you are not a HubSpot partner or simply prefer to go down the traditional route of suitability checking, the next step is to gather the applications and assess them to see which candidates best fit the criteria. This should include asking the following questions:
- Does their CV prove that their experience and skill sets align with the job requirements?
- Do their answers to open-ended questions fit with your company or agency culture?
- Do they write well?
- Are they active on social media?
- Have they connected with you on social media?
- Do they have their own blog or website?
If everything seems to fit, and you feel you have selected the frontrunners, organise a call to speak to them, and if you are still impressed, it is time to arrange a face to face interview.
By following the process correctly, you should be able to whittle down the top candidates to those really suited to the role, and from there, it is just a matter of choosing the best one for you.
Not looking to hire at the moment? You should be – a good agency that seeks to grow should always be looking for good talent. If they can bring something exceptional to you, then you will find room for them.
There are also some tell-tale signs that should indicate that you really do need a new hire, such as if you don’t have the people with the right skill-sets to meet a client’s demands, or are seeing very low profit margins,as detailed in this blog.
Hoisting a flag and hoping somebody good salutes isn’t enough though. You need to be proactive and go out looking for that perfect candidate. That’s where networking comes in. Go to inbound, digital and social media events and workshops and press the flesh (professionally speaking), to spread the word and to get a feel of the type of people in the industry and looking to get into it. A good candidate will be there too, making it their business to meet the people they hope to work with and finding out about the latest trends, technologies and best practices in their industry.
A great place to meet like-minded industry professionals and those eager to get a start is HubSpot User Group (HUG) events in your city. We have hosted a few of these events recently and found them to be both informative and valuable in terms of meeting with other agencies and potential candidates for positions with us.
LinkedIn is also a great place to look for suitable candidates for a role within your agency. You can create a search for people in your city who have, for example, HubSpot Certifications in their profile, and see what other qualifications, experience and ambitions they have that might suit your needs.
The process doesn’t end with finding the right person for your agency either. You need to implement a training plan to enable them to fit into your organisation properly and hit the ground running as well as they can. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a new hire can’t be expected to move mountains immediately.
Make a training plan for your staff that includes educating them on the platforms and tools you use and have them get certified and complete practical run-throughs of daily tasks before they are expected to dive into the role full-time. This will ensure that they are ready to hit the ground running and will be more likely to become a major asset for your agency from the get-go.
If you follow the processes and look in the right places, you will be able to find that perfect fit for your agency and see your business grow as a result. When that happens, it won’t be long before you will have to start the whole hiring process again to accommodate for your newfound success and increased business.
Need some advice on hiring or any other aspect of inbound marketing for your agency? Get in touch with Clodagh at Get Focused, the agency for agencies, to find out how we can help.